Aimee Mann unveils her new song “I See You,” the latest track to be revealed from her highly anticipated new album, Queens of The Summer Hotel, set for release on November 5 via her own SuperEgo Records. Listen to the track HERE.
In “I See You” the narrator reassures a girl who struggles to keep despair at bay, letting her know that she’s not alone. The song concludes with Mann singing, “There is a girl over a cliff, trying to break her fall—I see you!”
Mann previously released her tracks “Suicide Is Murder” and “Burt It Out” to critical praise; The New York Times declares, “Her lyrics are clinical and legalistic, considering the physical practicalities and weighing ‘motive, means and opportunity;’ instead of proffering sympathy, she coolly reminds a listener that a suicide is a ‘heartless killing spree,’” while Stereogum furthers, “[‘Burn It Out’ is] the kind of songcraft we’ve come to expect from Mann, a gentle and ornately pretty waltz, smartly written and emotionally intelligent to boot.”
Mann started developing the new music in 2018 when she agreed to write songs for a stage adaptation of Girl, Interrupted, Susannah Kaysen’s memoir about her psychiatric hospitalization in the late 1960s. It was material that Mann understood well, having had her own struggles with mental illness. The resulting music comes together in Queens of The Summer Hotel.
The album consists of a song cycle constructed from music that Mann wrote for the show, sung by Mann and orchestrated with her longtime collaborator Paul Bryan, using strings and woodwinds in a nod to the project’s theatrical origins.
In many ways, Queens of The Summer Hotel is the unintentional part two to Mann’s 2017’s Grammy-winning album Mental Illness, both exploring themes of self-harm, depression and suicide. However, Queens of The Summer Hotel was written more quickly than any of Mann’s previous records. The assignment to write songs for someone else’s project offered Mann a sense of liberation, freeing her to enter another person’s consciousness and story—and a brand-new set of musical structures—through the lens of Kaysen’s own alienation. Although several different characters narrate the songs, they’re not strictly tied to any narrative. But together, they form a portrait of one woman’s crisis of disassociation as seen through another woman’s eyes.
“I honestly felt almost possessed when I was writing this record as I’ve never written so fast and intensely,” recalls Mann. “I found the material very interesting and obviously really personal. I had specific ideas about what I thought the character’s backstory could be and incorporated a lot of shared experiences to flesh out specific characters discussed in the memoir.”
After several albums with ’Til Tuesday, Mann began her solo career in 1993 with the album Whatever and made a name for herself through her independent success and the founding of her record label, SuperEgo Records. Along the way, Mann forged a powerful new sound driven by her distinctive singing style—stripped-down, folky, acoustic but also forceful and cerebral, exploring psychological themes with dark wit and an eye for the world’s ugliest power plays.
In 2017, Mann released her acclaimed album Mental Illness, which won Best Folk Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards. The New York Times proclaimed, “Mental Illness wallows in its troubles, and it’s an exquisite wallow,” while The Los Angeles Times declared “Every doomed syllable is sacred and every tragic rhyme fits, as though each song were a puzzle to which only Mann knows the solution.”
In addition to her solo albums, she has appeared on many film soundtracks, most notably the score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, with “Save Me” landing her Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song. Mann has also made numerous cameo appearances in films such as The Big Lebowski and TV shows like “Portlandia” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” in which she sang an indelible cover of The Cars’ song “Drive.” Other extracurricular activities include performing for President Obama and the First Lady at the White House and starting a Podcast with Ted Leo called “The Art of Process.”
AIMEE MANN—QUEENS OF THE SUMMER HOTEL
1. You Fall
2. Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath
3. Give Me Fifteen
4. At The Frick Museum
5. Home By Now
7. Little Chameleon
8. You Don’t Have The Room
9. Suicide Is Murder
10. You Could Have Been A Roosevelt
11. Burn It Out
12. In Mexico
13. Check (reprise)
14. You’re Lost
15. I See You